FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught Have you heard the one about lifestyles? “’Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed mercy on him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise….’” (Luke 10:36-36; See Luke 10:25-37) We hear about “the lifestyles of the rich and famous”, but what about the lifestyles of the “redeemed and faithful?” Webster defines lifestyle as “an individual’s typical way of life.” The story of The Good Samaritan draws us into a serious consideration of lifestyles. Lifestyle is determined by our philosophy of life. A philosophy of life is comprised of a person’s belief about God – Is there a God? What is he like? A philosophy of life is comprised of a person’s belief about self – should we hate, love, or ignore ourselves? There’s a clue in Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbors “as ourselves.” A philosophy of life is comprised of our belief about things – do we love people and use things or use people and love things? A philosophy of life is comprised of our belief about basic principles – will we choose to live with honor, integrity, and compassion? A philosophy of life is comprised of our belief about religion – an we find a way to express our faith in helpful and constructive behaviors? Lifestyle is also determined by our view of other people. In the story Jesus told, the lawyer (asking the question) saw others as problems to be discussed. The thieves saw others as victims to be exploited. The Priest and Levite saw others as losers to be avoided. The innkeeper saw others as customers to be profited from. Only the Samaritan saw others as neighbors to be loved and cared for. In the Old Testament Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In Jesus’ story the lawyer asks the question, Who is my neighbor?” The answer is “anyone in need. Lifestyle is also determined by our attitude toward circumstances. In the course of life, everyone will “fall among thieves” at times. We may be robbed of our possessions, our health, or our reputation. What shall our attitude be when we are sick, grieved, lonely, betrayed, ignored, or weighed down by circumstances? The Apostle Paul asserts what we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:36-39). Under the circumstances is where a victim lives. Surviving and thriving is where a victor lives! So . . . what is your typical way of life? Dr. Faught is pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.